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17 Easy Pasta Recipes That Are Surprisingly Healthy

Whoever said pasta isn't good for you hasn't tried one of these recipes before.

Pasta is one of those meals that truly never goes out of style. It's easy to make and can be customized in many different ways—what more can you ask for? And while pasta often gets a bad rep of being a food that isn't always the healthiest, we're here to prove that to be untrue. We rounded up some of our best and oh so easy pasta recipes you wouldn't believe are actually good for you, too.

From a twist on the classic spaghetti to various takes on fettuccine Alfredo you can eat seconds and thirds of guilt-free, here are 17 easy pasta recipes that are truly delicious and nutritious, too.

1

Spaghetti With Spicy Tomato Sauce and Bacon

Healthy spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

There really nothing is quite like a bowl of spaghetti. Here, we take the basic pasta dish up a notch thanks to a few strips of bacon, which happen to infuse the pasta with just the right amount of meaty flavor that pairs perfectly with the tomatoes and spicy heat the pepper flakes bring to the dish.

Get our recipe for Spaghetti With Spicy Tomato Sauce and Bacon.

2

Fettuccine Alfredo

Healthy fettuccine alfredo
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Fettuccine Alfredo is known as being the creamiest pasta dish, thanks to the heavy cream and excess butter used to make it. But that often means it's loaded with a ton of calories and fat. So in this version, we turn to a béchamel instead, which still creates a thick, creamy sauce, just without all those calories.

Get our recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo.

3

Shrimp Scampi With Linguine

Garlic shrimp scampi recipe with linguine on a marble counter with squeezed lemon
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Garlic fans, this pasta dish is for you. It doesn't require a ton of ingredients either, which is always a plus when you're whipping up a more sophisticated meal like this one. Plus, this scampi substitutes the dry white wine you typically find in shrimp scampi with vegetable broth, giving the pasta a nice salty finish.

Get our recipe for Shrimp Scampi With Linguine.

4

Baked Ziti

Healthy baked ziti
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Baked ziti is a classic comfort dish and at its core, it's simple—just noodles covered in red sauce, topped with cheese, and maybe a bit of meat mixed in. Ordering this while dining out, though, may result in a pasta that is high in saturated fat and, you guessed it, calories. With this recipe, you're able to easily make a healthier version at home that tastes just as delicious.

Get our recipe for Baked Ziti.

5

Linguine With Clams

Paleo linguine with clams
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Now this is one seafood-based pasta dish you're going to want to make again and again. And in case you're wondering, this linguine is heavy on the clams, giving this dish a tastier and healthier flavor.

Get our recipe for Linguine With Clams.

6

Asian-Inspired Sesame Noodles With Chicken

Healthy sesame noodles with chicken
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

A box of fettuccine is truly versatile! We like to think of this recipe as more of a salad, with the noodles standing in for lettuce. Mix in some protein along with as many vegetables as you like, and toss it all in a light but tasty dressing for a quick, good-for-you pasta dish.

Get our recipe for Asian-Inspired Sesame Noodles With Chicken.

7

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Butternut squash pasta salad
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Simply put: This butternut squash pasta salad recipe will be a game-changer. It's packed with protein and fiber and is one pasta salad you're going to be happy to eat for lunch throughout the week, as it's easy to make in advance in a Mason jar.

Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Pasta Salad.

8

One-Skillet Taco Pasta

one skillet taco pasta with spoon, cotija cheese, and sliced avocado
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

What makes this dish stand out is that it truly brings together the elements you know and love about tacos—seasonings, spice, and cheese—and combines them in pasta form. It's the best of both worlds! This recipe features black beans and ground beef which along with the whole-grain pasta and veggies, packs 19 grams of protein in each serving.

Get our recipe for One-Skillet Taco Pasta.

9

Turkey Bolognese With Fettuccine

Low-calorie bolognese fettuccine turkey
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

A slow-simmered meat sauce mixed into fettuccine will never not be a perfect combination. Here, we turn to a turkey-based bolognese sauce for a healthier pasta dish you're going to want to make every week. And there's nothing wrong with that!

Get our recipe for Turkey Bolognese With Fettuccine.

10

Loaded Alfredo Pasta With Chicken and Vegetables

Healthy loaded alfredo with chicken and veggies
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Here's yet another take on an Alfredo sauce-based pasta. This one packs a lot more nutritionally than any you would find at a restaurant, thanks to the addition of chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Get our recipe for Loaded Alfredo Pasta With Chicken and Vegetables.

11

Homemade 3-Cheese Ravioli With Cherry Tomatoes

Vegetarian 3 cheese ravioli with cherry tomatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Making ravioli isn't as much of a challenge as you may think and here, you truly get to experience a pasta dish made with three different types of cheese that is still light and won't put you in a food coma afterward. Creamy ricotta, smoky mozzarella, and sharp Parmesan come together for a pasta dish that is just a little more than 500 calories.

Get our recipe for Homemade 3-Cheese Ravioli With Cherry Tomatoes.

12

Mac and Cheese With Spinach, Ham, and Tomato

Healthy spinach ham mac and cheese
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Mac and cheese will forever be one of the easiest pasta dishes anyone can master making. Here, we introduce ham, spinach, and cherry tomatoes, giving the dish a major health boost. Feel free to swap in broccoli for the spinach or turkey for the ham if you like—it's up to you! The essence of this dish is that it's a healthy mac and cheese that makes for a fulling meal.

Get our recipe for Mac and Cheese With Spinach, Ham, and Tomato.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

13

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

healthy spaghetti meatballs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

It's no secret that turkey is much leaner and more tender than the beef, pork, and veal traditional meatballs are made with. By going the turkey route, you're knocking off calories while still bringing a ton of flavor to your spaghetti dish.

Get our recipe for Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs .

14

Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe

Healthy orecchiette broccoli rabe
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This classic dishes combines broccoli rabe with lean crumbled sausage and orecchiette, the beloved little pasta shells that forever scoop up the sauce just perfectly. And don't worry if you don't have any rabe on hand, as regular broccoli works just fine, too.

Get our recipe for Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe.

15

Crock-Pot Beef Ragu

Crock pot beef ragu recipe with pappardelle pasta and shaved parmesan
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

What makes this beef ragu pasta dish one you're going to no-doubt add to your weekly dinner rotation is that it's a dump-and-go Crock-Pot recipe that is perfect to prep and freeze for later. And with the beef sitting atop pappardelle pasta and some shaved parmesan mixed in, prepare to feast on a dinner that is restaurant-worthy.

Get our recipe for a Crock-Pot Beef Ragu.

16

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Healthy shrimp fra diavolo
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Believe it or not, seafood-based pasta is usually the worst type of pasta you can order when you're dining out. Typically, a shrimp-based pasta dish is drowning in a sauce that is made of far too much butter, cream, and cheese. So we did the opposite here, letting the shrimp and all its nutritional benefits take center stage. In this recipe, the shrimp is made with crushed tomatoes, white wine, and a pinch of red pepper flakes all over pasta for a meal that still feels indulgent for far fewer calories.

Get our recipe for Shrimp Fra Diavolo.

17

Buttery Red Pepper Fettuccine Alfredo

Healthy red pepper alfredo
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

We know, yet another fettuccine Alfredo, but there truly are so many ways to make this dish. This recipe starts with a béchamel sauce, and then blends it with roasted red peppers, creating a lighter Alfredo sauce that is much lower in calories.

Get our recipe for Buttery Red Pepper Fettuccine Alfredo.

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Jennifer Maldonado
Jennifer Maldonado is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and health content. Read more
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